By Daniel Morand
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gee’s walked over the McMaster University Marauders Friday night to take their spot in the Wilson Cup final.
The top scoring team in the country lived up to its reputation — scoring 101 points and holding the Marauders to 68. This was the 12th time the Gee-Gee’s broke the 100-point mark this year.
The Marauders were 18-4 in the regular season and knocked out the Western University Mustangs to secure a spot in the Final Four. But their play was probably unrecognizable to the large fan base they brought out to the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
McMaster was down 15 points at the end of the first quarter. By the end of the third quarter, the Gee-Gee’s had extended their lead to 49 points.
The Gee-Gee’s made short work of their opponents’ defence and held McMaster’s big guns off the score sheet. Marauders Joe Rocca averages 14.2 points per game this season, but was held to a single bucket. Taylor Black’s efforts were also minimal. Black finished fifth in rebounding in the OUA this season, but only came away with two in this game.
The well-rounded Ottawa squad had five players in double-digit scoring, capped off by a couple massive dunks by Terry Thomas.
Up by 32 points in the third quarter, Thomas picked the ball of McMaster’s Nathan Pelech in the defensive zone. Alone on a fast break, Thomas threw down a dunk that crushed any hope of a McMaster comeback.
“I let the game come to me. I saw that Michael was shooting the ball so I just tried to create for him,” Thomas said. “You got to pick your poison with us, we’re a great shooting team and we shot the lights out.”
McMaster had difficulty controlling Michael L’Aficain from behind the arc. The point guard made five shots from three-point territory and had a 64 per cent field-goal percentage.
Ottawa’s semifinal matchup may have been a cakewalk, but spoiling Carleton’s plan for a third straight OUA title will be different. Carleton is an elite team with few weaknesses. At last night’s game, the Gee-Gee’s did not rebound the ball very well and only recorded five more than McMaster.
“We have to be ready to battle and keep them to a lower scoring game,” Gee-Gee’s head coach James Deroun said. “I thought Windsor did a good job tonight. We’ll take a look at that tape and see what adjustments they made.”
Ottawa’s semifinal win guarantees the club a spot at the CIS Final 8 tournament. McMaster can also qualify if they win the bronze medal match against the University of Windsor Lancers.
The Ravens face the Gee-Gee’s for the OUA Championship tonight at 6 p.m. at the MAC.